While Virginia is very strict regarding speeding, Loudoun County prosecutes these cases even more harshly. While most cases are simply traffic infractions, the difference of one mile per hour can tip the charge over into reckless driving, which is a criminal offense. Therefore, it is important to understand what you are being charged with and to consult an experienced Loudoun County speeding ticket lawyer. If it is unclear to you what charges you are facing, they will be able to look at your ticket and determine whether it is an infraction or something more serious. Additionally, they will also be able to provide you with the appropriate counsel and help present your case to the court in the best manner possible.
Virginia is an absolute speed limit state and also follows a basic speed limit, which means that Loudoun also has an absolute speed limit. Every single state is a basic speed limit state, which is a commonsense approach to the speed limit. For example, if it’s raining outside and the speed limit is normally 65 mph, but now the roads are slippery, it’s no longer safe to travel at 65 mph. The basic speed limit law states that you can only travel as fast as is safe for the current conditions. You would have to adjust your speed, and if you were going 65 mph, you could be ticketed for going too fast.
Absolute speed limits are easy to understand. Whatever the sign says is the absolute speed limit, that’s it. If you go one mile per hour over whatever the posted sign says, it is a ticketable offense.
If there’s no speed limit sign posted, then there are default speed limits for certain areas. If you’re driving in a residential or business area, it’s 25 mph. On secondary roads, it’s 55 mph for vehicles and 45 mph for trucks. For unpaved roads, the default is 35 mph.
Presumed speed limits are more creative and give defendants some extra negotiating power. If the sign says 55 mph and that’s the usual speed limit and someone is ticketed for going over that, it’s presumed that the safe limit is 55. However, it switches the burden of proof to the other side so a speeding ticket attorney in Loudoun County has an opportunity to prove that even though they were going faster than what the speed limit says, the conditions at that time made it safe to do so. They can demonstrate that it was a clear sunny day and there was no one else on the road and that’s why they were going that fast. They have the opportunity to dismiss the ticket that way.
The best defense for exceeding the speed limit is an emergency situation. Usually in court if you can prove that the only reason you were speeding was because you were trying to avoid losing life or limb, then this is sometimes enough reason for the case to be dismissed. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it definitely works.
Other than that, there aren’t many good defenses for exceeding the speed limit. Some people might say they had to go to the bathroom or they were running late for work, but these types of excuses are just admitting that the driver was purposely speeding. These defenses don’t tend to work.
The other ways of getting around a high speed are by trying to offer mitigating evidence, not so much related to the speed itself, but more related to the driver. Sometimes this works. The most common ways are by having the driver take a driver improvement class, which shows that while the driver was driving too fast in this one occasion, they’re trying to make up for it and improve their driving in the future. A clean driving record can also provide strong mitigating evidence.
A speedometer calibration, if it shows that the speed the driver thought they were going was lower than the actual speed, can sometimes help as well.
Regarding defenses, “going with the flow of traffic” is possibly one of the most common excuses a Loudoun speeding ticket attorney might hear when speaking with their clients. While it’s realistic that people are just going with the flow of traffic and they get pulled over for speeding, it’s not a good defense. Even if the entire highway is going with the flow of traffic and speeding, it’s still not an excuse. The officer can only pull over one vehicle. Unfortunately if you’re that vehicle, that’s it. The speed limit in Loudoun is the highest speed that drivers are allowed to lawfully go. You have to follow it here because if you don’t, then it’s a ticketable offense.
Since Loudoun is an absolute speed limit jurisdiction, any miles per hour over the speed limit is unlawful, so this is not true. It is true, however, that sometimes Loudoun County officers won’t pull someone over if they’re only going slightly over the speed limit, especially on the highway. However, it still would be legal for them to pull you over, even if you were going just 1 mph over the speed limit.
Extraordinary circumstances are really the only type of excuse that you can give as mitigating circumstances for speeding in Loudoun County. Emergency situations in general are the only thing that judges tend to accept as a really good reason for why someone was breaking the law.
Some people also assume that to avoid the possibility of facing a penalty for speeding, they should drive 10 mph under the speed limit. It would make sense for the state to put a buffer in there to make up for people slightly speeding, but this shouldn’t impact the way that you drive.
The highest speed limit in Loudoun for highways is 70 mph. The risk of speeding on the highway is that, in Loudoun, 20 miles or more over the posted speed limit—or 80 mph or more anywhere in Loudoun—is considered reckless. On highways, it’s really easy to cross the line into reckless driving by going just 10 miles over the top posted speed limit of 70.
Other risks with speeding on the highway are safety risks that naturally come at high speeds. Reaction times are lower because there’s less time from when the driver passes a particular point to when he reaches a particular point. There’s a higher likelihood of severe injury or death and there’s a higher likelihood of a collision.
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